Sunrise at the spring equinox

March 21, 2021 | Vernal Equinox | Phoenix, Arizona

These are pictures taken as the Sun rose the other day at the spring equinox. Strictly speaking, the equinox fell on the previous day, March 20th this year. The 20th was Shabbat, so I was not taking photos. Sunday, the 21st, was the first opportunity that I had. Is there a noticeable difference? Not without precision instruments.

The first picture was taken about ten minutes before the astronomical sunrise, which was at 6:29 Mountain Standard Time. The other pictures range through about 7 AM as the sun finally peeked out above the ridge to the east of where I was standing.

The photos were taken with a point-and-shoot camera without a tripod or filters.

I cropped the pictures by using Microsoft Office Picture Manager.

The A.V. era in earnest

March 18, 2021 | 5 Nisan 5781

I just received my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This is really A.V. time — after the vaccine. (See my post “B.V. and A.V.”) The vaccine is supposed to be fully effective in seven to ten days. But no vaccine is 100% effective, of course.

The only substantive change in my life is that I’m considering attending synagogue services for about twenty to thirty minutes. They’ve already asked me to help make up the minyan — quorum — for Passover mornings. (The first day of Passover is Sunday, March 28, 2021. The holiday begins the night before with the first Seder.)

I don’t want to breathe shared air for too long. It seems that the unvaccinated body can handle breathing in a few viruses. All the more so someone who had a vaccine. But twenty minutes is the recommended duration indoors among people who haven’t been vaccinated, which includes the youngish rabbi.

We’ll be masking and keeping our distance, but distancing is not possible if I stand with three others around the Torah scroll when it’s being read.

So we’ll see.

Instead of getting bent out of shape over a decision, I’m going to have a cup of hot tea with sugar.

Cottonwoods leafing out

Mid-March 2021 | Phoenix, Arizona

After being bare during the short Phoenix winter, this Cottonwood has leafed out. It’s growing in a wash — an intermittent stream:

In this photo, you can see a couple of inches of new growth:

Another clump of Cottonwoods:

I previously posted a picture of these Cottonwoods when the leaves were yellow.

Living with fear

By YUNO. Courtesy of social worker R. O.

Psychological Flexibility
    engaging in the present moment
    authoring valued patterns
    returning to valued patterns
    being flexible in perspectives
    holding stories lightly ~
    being open to experience

~ holding stories lightly – Taking the story of your life seriously, but holding it lightly. In other words, don’t be convinced that there will be nothing new in your life.

“When we tell our stories, it’s best to hold them lightly and leave room and space for change, growth, revision, and perspective. When we do this, we have affirmed who we are now and have not anchored ourselves to that point. We have left the reality-based option open so that our story can change as we change.” “Can you tell all your stories and not hold them too tightly? Can you let them grow, evolve, and in some cases, release them?”

from Headwaters at Origins

“We try to see the world as it is with equanimity instead of craving and fixation. Equanimity — the balance that is born of wisdom — reminds us that what is happening in front of us is not the end of the story, it is just what we can see. Instead of being frightened of change, with equanimity, we can see its benefits and put our daily existence in a broader context. The hope resides in the certainty of relief not in specific outcomes, like getting exactly what we want; the hope comes from the way things actually are in this universe: This too shall pass.”–

from Sharon Salzberg

“Eventually, we can start to realize thoughts are not facts, and we are not our thoughts …”

from “fran

Orange and lemon trees blossoming

Mid-March 2021 | Phoenix, Arizona

An Orange flower. Some of last year’s oranges are still on the tree!:

Lemon flowers. Last year’s lemons are still on the tree, too:

Both trees are irrigated. They can’t grow in the Arizona desert without irrigation. The rain here isn’t enough. They are thirsty.

Lupines and other early-spring flowers

Early Spring 2021 | Phoenix, Arizona

Lupines are prolific this time of year. They grow in wasteland, especially along sidewalks and curbs:

These are Desert Marigolds:

These yellow flowers are Mexican Poppies. The blue ones are Desert Blue Bells. The Poppies have closed now that they’re in the shade. Both seeded themselves from previous years:

I don’t yet know the identity of this plant. It’s ubiquitous and flowers through the summer:

Marigolds are garden plants, not wildflowers. This marigold is self-seeded from plants that were planted about 20 feet away:

Birds at the Desert Botanical Garden

Late December 2020 | Phoenix, Arizona

Birds mixed with visitors to Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden in an outdoor cafe garden. The first photo is of a Roadrunner. The second is of a Gambel’s Quail.

Roadrunners are quite comfortable around people. But ordinarily, the quail are skittish and readily run away. This quail learned to mingle with people who are a source of food crumbs.

A javalina family crosses the road

On a walk the other day, I came across a javalina (peccary) family crossing this busy street. I took this photo a 8 AM, a full hour and ten minutes after sunrise. Javalinas are noctural, so by sunrise they would ordinarily be in their nest in a wild secluded area. They were indeed headed in that direction.

I can only suggest that they were confused by the heavily overcast sky.